Michaela Willsher spent twelve weeks volunteering in Manyara, Tanzania with the charity Raleigh through the ICS volunteer programme. The Jack Petchey Foundation awarded Michaela with a £300 Individual Grant for Volunteering to help her cover the costs of her volunteering.
During Michaela’s time in Manyara, she undertook a variety of projects; all of the projects adhered to the WASH principle, which promotes clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Micheala was assigned to a group of eleven other volunteers and sent to a local primary school in the rural village of Ng’wandakw. There the volunteers built two new toilet block for the primary school students and laid the foundation for a new toilet block for the teachers. The new toilet blocks featured much-needed privacy; this was especially important for the girls, as it is common for them to drop out of school due to menstruation.
Michaela also taught within the school, teaching the pupils the various WASH principles and also about good nutrition. But their work didn’t stop at the school. They also taught a variety of other groups within the village, which included a secondary school group, a Women’s Group, Youth Group, Environmental Group and local teachers. Throughout their 12 weeks in Ng’wandakw they also ran three community action days, two litter picking days, and a sports day for the primary school children.
Micheala felt that one of the most important things that the volunteers implemented in the village was the construction and regular use of tippy-taps, which are hand-washing devices made from sticks, rope and jerry-cans. It gave the villagers a fixed hand-washing area in their homes as well as in the school, where eleven were built.
Michaela said that biggest impact the volunteers had in the village of Ng’wandakw, was seen in the Primary School. She said “the children, who previously had a lack of knowledge of the WASH principles, showed excellent understanding and we saw first-hand the children implement these practices in their daily lives. Many children also built tippy-taps in their homes and taught their new education to other children and villagers.” This illustrates the sustainability of Micheala’s volunteer work, as they will pass on the information, hopefully for generations, which will reduce the risk of the spread of dangerous diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Michaela said; “I have gained many things from my time in Tanzania, such as a different view on life and an appreciation for what I do have. I also learnt how to work well in a team and even how to manage a team, as two members of the team had to lead the rest of the group for 1 week. I have also acquired an ambition to continue working in international development, whether I want to work within this sector or to continue volunteering.”
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